Category: Poetry

Worry-stitched sleeping

I never sleep before midnight anymore.

Find me, curled in a C shape –

balled in a worry I won’t undo

until morning.

A morning where half the sky

slices the baby blue curtains

away from night’s navy nightgown.

If I weighed my worries in a grocer’s scale,

the store might overcharge me

for pounds I had last time.

My burdens fit me elegantly,

a form fitting piece –

I wear for any occasion.

Please, if you see me sleep,

don’t fear the strings

tightening and loosening.

These mere things orchestrate

my dreams.





Under the coolness of night, the insomniac insects fly frantically under the lamp post. Neon white orbs poking circles throughout the campus, I pass the posts one by one unafraid. Perhaps I am silly for not having fear on an all-woman campus. Perhaps I am allowed to quiet my breath, as I loop through the cycles of my frenzied thoughts. Out there, my mind flies in and out of the light like those by the lamp post.

Pouring back into the street, my friend’s scarlet red car pulled away from the diner two hours earlier. Through the car window, I sighed “the moon is my wife.”

Perched highly away from the world, and a face contoured with the light reflecting the sun – I admire her from a distance. I love best from afar I think. With the blare of punk rock, I sometimes fool myself in believing that I’ve already met my love. She is high – weaving dreams under other people’s pillows. She is high – with NASA’s expensive telescopes admiring the pock marks on her face.

Appropriator: Employment application OR Lost and FoundĀ 

I ate from the table, making sure that my elbows rested,

left hand never rose from my lap,

and that my water glass sip

didn’t crumple the invitation given to me.

It’s all one big chance to win it big,

find your place,

use two euphemisms,

about finding a culture that doesn’t make me feel like an outsider.

See, I’ve never been outside the United States

but I’ve been a guest in more than four states-

examining each spine I come in contact with.

I look at backbones on sale,

placing wagers if I can score one like that,

like hers prepackaged without shipping and handling fees.

You don’t understand,

how misplacement in adulthood

asks the questions: who are you, where are you from,

and will you fit in here?

I look at skin, eye shape, collar bone,

and find myself in a Polly Pocket world

switching between identities, communities, 

and grievance of reparations in hopes I will be invited to eat

at this table again. 

Divinity, makes her laugh

She talks about heaven as if it doesn’t exist.

She sees the world as an expanse,

where our entire beings are smaller than our pupils.

In the burst of stars

combusting anxieties across the galaxy,

I stop putting factions of what is right or wrong

in people’s mouths. She believes there is a world

a part from humanity that should benefit.

She reminds me that the world is alive

tingling in the veins of leaves,

and on algae gripping onto coral bodies.

She makes heaven sound otherworldly,

Out of place for the bound book –

I forget to open. I forget to search nose down,

As I’ve been taught. I felt religion came in waves,

I teleported through peace intervals,

and smiled when I saw the earth as not mine.

Instead, I, in origin belong to the ground, the sea,

the duty of sustaining life other than my own.

She speaks as if heavens don’t matter,

because indulgence doesn’t matter if the earth is hurting.

She makes heaven sound like another planet,

out there orbiting as a moon.

She makes heaven sound so old,

That the clouds remember the grazes of prayers,

my people already sang when they came crammed in ships.

She makes heaven sound like a body,

washed and wrapped in burial cloth

waiting for the younger generations to come

pay respects. She makes heaven sound fleeting as a

shadow over the grass on summer day.

Ode to writing

I wrote a thousand different poems.

Each one, pressed like flowers and leaves

in dictionaries, my parents told me to read.

Some days, I think there aren’t enough words

in me. I used to chew on the margins of my

grade school notebooks, so when I talked- a sound

came out in the classroom. I wrote a song for a

girl whose hands are as warm as the steam

against my face, when I’ve opened the pot’s lid.

For this sensation, I remember the places and

people who’ve made me feel warm. My hands

are cold, with my self-deprivation forming

rings around my fingers. I wrote a letter to

people I’ve never met because I would have

liked to know them. Their words seep into the

graveyard’s grass, and shower a mist in a

mausoleum of urns. Somewhere, I learned

that if I think my words are important, I can

never say them directly face to face. I wrote

a paragraph or two for my parents on how

my childhood left me with an unrealistic

perspective that my younger self was the

only self I could be proud of. I wrote a

lullaby for my aches and groans, when I

held my arms tightly across my chest in the

night. Silent decays of belief and hope are

mine to keep. I wrote a song for a man I

knew who would never love me, and now

I think of how I don’t want him to. I wrote a

song for sex, afraid that when it happens, I

won’t likeĀ it at all. I wrote a song for rain, add-

ing an extra refrain for the days it never stops.

I wrote a limerick for myself, because the day

laughing gives way to sickness of a tearful mind –

I’ll read it again.


I miss my body

Her collarbones her thighs her heart on sleeve

I took her apart,

And tried to tinker with parts of myself

I was insecure about

I felt as if no one could see me

The happier I would be.

I miss my body’s drape under cloth

Pouch of fat pinch of bone

Stretched under my skirt

When I saw my knees.

I miss my body’s sex appeal

How it uncoiled in my fingers 

As I played with the springs of my hair.

I miss my body’s sigh when I flirted with street walk 

And doused perfume over the tops of my breasts

In case I lean nearer to his breath.

I miss my body’s backbone 

Open to the sky

When I felt the grass touch my skin

I miss my body’s peek of tummy 

When her hands lazily brushed over it

Tugging at embroidered seam.

I miss my body’s warm shoulder

Kissed by the sun

Painting gold onto my collarbones

And forehead.

I miss my body

As if I no longer own it 

Under these clothes.

Forgive me.

Dry hands crack but they still can hold another’s hands

My dear –
How can you not see
The parts of yourself you’re rushing
To fix and laboriously contain
Into wells, bathtubs, and buckets.
This is only the beginning
Where water glides over hands, arms,
And feet – the act of ritual cleansing.
One more time,
The ocean laps against the sand,
And then the tide recedes again.

Do you not see –
We’ll do this many times
Kneel when we’re tired of asking
Kneel when we’re frustrated with not being quite what we had hoped to be
But the sea, the ocean, and the rivers
Come again
Even when water around us depletes.
I ask you for tonight, tomorrow, and transcending periods of time
Whether I am able to become clean.
My fingers are raw from the washboard.
They are dry from my hands never leaving the water.
But I try
I try forcing the tears
Sunken in my sorrows, out.
My dear –
Don’t you see,
Prayer paddles in water,
And sometimes swims for miles in seas, oceans, and canals

– Yet we are here
Day by day
Looking for a place where our thirst is quenched by nothing more than a single invocation of His name.